Thursday, 31 July 2014
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Israel shells UN school, busy market in Gaza

Israel shelled a UN school in Gaza just after dawn this morning, killing at least 19 and wounding over 90. In the afternoon a bustling market near Gaza City was hit, killing at least 17 and wounding over 200. 

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Hebrew U promotes hasbara fellowship endorsed by foreign ministry

Created on 06 November 2012

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem sent an announcement via its “HiTech Jobs and Events” mailing list inviting candidates to a “Leadership and Public Diplomacy” programme endorsed by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 30114420_standwithus_israel_fellowship30114420_standwithus_israel_fellowship

Programme fellows will meet once every two weeks to learn things such as “techniques of hasbara, standing before an audience...image of Israel in the world, Palestinian society and key topics in the world of diplomacy.” Fellows are promised “strategic tours to ‘burning’ sites on the public agenda” and encounters with “spokespersons and experts amongst the best in their fields.”

 

The fellowship is sponsored by StandWithUs, a Los-Angeles based organisation which claims dedication to “bringing peace to the Middle East by educating about Israel and the misinformation that often surrounds the Middle East conflict.”  Hasbara for peace. StandWithUs works to “ensure that Israel's side of the story is told on university campuses and in communities, the media, libraries, and churches around the world.”

 

The Fellowship is offered at seven universities in Israel, including Hebrew University, with 20-25 yearly fellows at each. Published records of current and past fellows highlight an overwhelming bias toward young, secular Israelis of Askenazi (European) background, with some 50% of them women.

 

A vacuous video promoting application for the 2013 fellowship shows a series of photos of smiling young Israelis attending lectures with high-level Israeli politicians and media figures, giving group hugs at conferences, speaking with international groups and being interviewed by reporters. There is even a smiling young fellow standing next to President Obama. So while the goal is ostensibly to “serve” Israel, the fellowship is promoted in ways to attract those interested in a high profile, “glamourous” career.

 

The fellows at each university work as a group to initiate and implement a public diplomacy project, “the echoes of which {are} heard throughout Israel and the world,” according to the Hebrew University promotion. Participants in this programme are thus not only taught how to erase Israel’s occupation and ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people, but actively work to do so.

Hebrew University has promoted and hosted this Israeli-government endorsed fellowship since at least 2007.